Santa Barbara is known for many things—the beautiful Spanish-style buildings, the sunny beaches, the famous residents (Robb Lowe, Cat Cora, Oprah). But recently the city and its surrounding area have become famous for something else: fantastic wine. In the past decade, Santa Barbara county has become arguably the most exciting wine region in the United States. With five distinct AVAs, the West Coast’s only east-west transverse mountain range (the Santa Rita Hills), and a supportive environment in which the best winemakers collaborate rather than compete, the area produces everything from bright sauvignon blancs to rich syrahs, and even some unusual sparkling wines.
It used to be that you had to drive around the county or book a pricey tour to enjoy all of this vinicultural bounty. But in the past few years, many of the best wineries have opened tasting rooms in downtown Santa Barbara. Now you can try many local wines just by taking a leisurely stroll. Here are seven of the most interesting tasting rooms in town.
1. Au Bon Climat
2. Margerum Wines
3. Santa Barbara Winery
4. Pali Winery
5. Riverbench Winery
6. The Santa Barbara Wine Collective
7. Jaffurs Wine Cellars
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